CDC: Many U.S. Teens Have Abused Prescription Drugs

Report finds that 23 percent of white, 17 percent of Hispanic high school students have done so
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- One in five students high school students in the United States has abused prescription drugs at some point, according to the 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, released June 3 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The survey found that prescription drug abuse -- using a prescription drug without a doctor's prescription -- was highest among white students (23 percent), followed by Hispanic students (17 percent) and black students (12 percent). While there was no difference in prescription drug abuse by gender (20 percent in both male and female students), it was lowest among ninth-graders and highest among 12th-graders (15 versus 26 percent).

The survey also found that approximately 72 percent of students had used alcohol; 37 percent, marijuana; 6.4 percent, cocaine; 4.1 percent, methamphetamine; and 6.7 percent, ecstasy. The results indicate that many high school students engage in other risky behaviors with 19 percent reporting that they had smoked cigarettes within the 30 days prior to the survey. Riding in a vehicle driven by someone who had been drinking was reported by 28 percent, and 39 percent of currently sexually active students reported lack of condom use during their last sexual intercourse.

"We are concerned to learn that so many high school students are taking prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them," Howell Wechsler, director of the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health, said in a statement. "Some people may falsely believe that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs, yet their misuse can cause serious adverse health effects, including addiction and death."

More Information

Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Powered by

jQuery UI Accordion - Default functionality

For life-long learning and continuing professional development, come to Lippincott's NursingCenter.

Nursing Jobs Plus
Featured Jobs
Recommended CE Articles

Blunt Chest Trauma
Journal of Trauma Nursing, November/December 2014
Expires: 12/31/2016 CE:2 $21.95


The School Age Child with Congenital Heart Disease
MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, January/February 2015
Expires: 2/28/2017 CE:2.5 $24.95


Understanding multiple myeloma
Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!, January/February 2015
Expires: 2/28/2017 CE:2 $21.95


More CE Articles

Subscribe to Recommended CE

Recommended Nursing Articles

Comprehensive Care: Looking Beyond the Presenting Problem
Journal of Christian Nursing, January/March 2015
Free access will expire on March 2, 2015.


Pain and Alzheimer dementia: A largely unrecognized problem
Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!, January/February 2015
Free access will expire on February 16, 2015.


Glycemic control in hospitalized patients
Nursing2015 Critical Care, January 2015
Free access will expire on February 16, 2015.


More Recommended Articles

Subscribe to Recommended Articles

Evidence Based Practice Skin Care Network NursingCenter Quick Links What’s Trending Events